Portland Opera has always set its collective eyes on the horizon. Since filling the gaps left by touring troupes and sporadically performing local companies in 1964, it has endeavored to expand the art form on the stage and beyond. Twenty years after its inception, it became just the second company in the US to project English translations of foreign lyrics above the stage, enabling audiences to leave their Italian dictionaries at home. The company also pushes the boundaries of the shows themselves, staging world premiers of classic stories such as Wuthering Heights, commissioning the work Lucy's Lapses, and producing the West Coast premiere of Philip Glass's Orphée. Not to be contained within one performance space, it also established Portland Opera To Go, a touring division that performs works such as Cinderella and La Bohème at schools and community centers.
Arthur Murray Dance Studio has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and the Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, the Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Clients who arrive to lessons partnerless will be paired up with other classmates as the instructors assess their current skill level and make recommendations on the most appropriate program. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
Since 1998, the instructors at Hula Halau ‘Ohana Holo‘oko‘a—Hawaiian for “School Of Hula Where Everyone Is Family”—have carried on the traditions of their native language, song, and dance by teaching the hula to generations young and old. Hula illustrates a story through dance and music, often accompanied by a ukulele, guitar, or drum. Newcomers start out with the basic hula steps and movements, learning Hawaiian vocabulary and songs to prepare them for advancement to more complicated movements and a steady diet of only poi smoothies. Other classes teach students how to strum the ukulele and dance the tahitian brand of hula.
The inspiration behind Rise Dance+Lab, a dance school for children aged 3–14, isn't what you might expect. Evie Graham originally established Vega Dance Lab, a studio exclusively for adult students, when she noticed a glut of kids' dance studios in her search for classes she could take herself. Of course, Evie is a parent herself, and though she found plenty of dance studios her kids could attend, most were far away from downtown Portland. So with one successful dance studio under her belt, Evie and her husband Joe founded Rise Dance+Lab, a studio in the center of the city where kids could discover and hone skills in diverse styles of dance. There, younger dancers begin with classes such as Tutu Cute or Turn! Jump! Leap!, which explore movement and teach the basics of dance and class etiquette. As kids get older, they begin developing more polished moves in styles such as hip-hop, jazz, and contemporary, even working toward injecting the choreography with their own experiences and feelings to give their moves more emotional depth and find a method of expression that can't be stolen and read by a nosy sibling.
Four Horsemen Haunted Attractions spooks its guests twice over with two connected haunted houses spanning more than 18,000 square feet. The gut-wrenching walkthroughs kick off with Primus, where scientists have uncovered strange organisms that showcase advances in science and medicine. But what they uncovered is not at benign as it seemed, causing horrific mutations of the most ancient kind. Four Horsemen's actors elicit screams through dialogue and shocking reveals, elevating the genre beyond cheap-and-dirty scare tactics that usually include dressing up like each guest’s high-school gym teacher. In the connected Hellhouse, guests follow in the footsteps of a film crew hoping to find the mysterious place where a band of serial killers kept their victims. Scripted live-action sequences and seamlessly integrated video back up roving monsters, creating a uniquely immersive haunted experience.
Eschewing the over-the-top costumes and writing that typify many other murder-mystery dinners, The Dinner Detectives’ cast of improvisational actors blends in with audiences, holding secrets tight to their chests while steering each night’s tension-filled storyline. After a diner is found murdered, a resident detective helps lead the investigation, allowing guests to interrogate one another with Tickle Monster tactics to distinguish the culprit among the crowd of fellow diners and dissembling thespians. Multicourse meals keep bodies well fueled during spurts of crime-solving intuition, and a prize basket awaits the gumshoe who comes closest to solving the case.